Many people have a hard time getting to sleep at a reasonable hour. With so many things to do and things that need to get done, sleep doesn’t always make top priority in our lives. We try to sleep longer, but is the sleep that we do get any good? Yes, you do need sleep. You can’t change a few things in your life and start sleeping 2 hours a night and be perfectly awake(unless you’re one of the lucky few who can get away with this. I personally haven’t met many.) A general rule for sleep is about 6-8 hours. Everybody functions different so its best to find the right amount of time. Some research shows that sleeping too much is just as bad for you as sleeping too little.
Change Your Daily Habits to Help Sleep Nightly.
So we know how much sleep we really need, but how do we get as much as we can out our sleep every night? Start by improving your daily health habits to promote better, more sound, effective sleep.
- Exercise. There are many health benefits from exercising more daily, this includes improving our sleep. Exercise during the day helps us to fall asleep faster at night.
- Avoid the ‘nightcap.’ A lot of people drink a glass of wine, a glass of beer or other alcoholic beverage in the afternoon to unwind and possibly to help them fall asleep. Although alcohol seems to help us relax and fall asleep and seems to act as a sleep aid, it’s not. Research shows that alcohol interrupts our REM sleep (the kind of sleep we need to feel awake.)
- Stick to your sleep schedule. Going to bed two hours later one night than you did the night before and going to bed earlier the next night is extremely confusing to our bodies. We need to have a regular schedule, a regular time to get up (even on the weekends that we love to sleep in on)
Make Your Bedroom Promote a Restful Night.
In your bedroom you need a space that promotes sleep. A peaceful sanctuary. A lot of people don’t do this, our lives, stresses, and worries don’t always disappear when we hide behind a bedroom door. Here’s how to make your bedroom a peaceful environment that promotes sleep.
- Keep paperwork out of your bedroom. I myself am guilty of bringing my work into my bedroom to work on in comfort at my desk or even working in my bed. Honestly, how are you supposed to get any sleep with the threat of a deadline just a few feet away from us. Not to mention, you don’t get much time to wind down when you go straight from work to trying to sleep with your mind racing.
- Turn down the light. Light is all around us. You’re reading this article on a screen. So many of us bring our phones or computers or some type of electronic device into our bedrooms. These lights around us interfere with our natural sleep. Our bodies make melatonin to make us fall asleep. When we’re in the dark our bodies create more of this hormone to make us sleepy. When we are checking our phones or on the computer up until we go to bed, we more than likely don’t create enough of this chemical to fall asleep and get a good night’s sleep. The little LED lights all around are house are bad for a peaceful night too. Try and cover all of these in your bedroom
- Keep the noise down. Although a lot of us don’t get the luxury of shutting down the noise, a few of us do, and we choose not to. If you like to watch TV or a movie until you fall asleep, you’re losing sleep and not having a restful night. Noises in the night, especially when we’re asleep, disrupt us.
- Keep your cool. Most people sleep the best around 65°F. Try sleeping with your bedroom cooler (below 70°F) but wherever you’re most comfortable is obviously best for you.
Once you eliminate major issues towards your sleep (random sleep schedule, lights, noises, and other stresses) you can work on tweaking your sleep schedule to the right amount of time where you feel the most rested. You’ll be more rested and awake during the day and you might even get more time in your day with less sleep.